Northern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis leucotis)

Northern White-faced Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Ptilopsis leucotis | [authority] Temminck, 1820 | [UK] Northern White-faced Owl | [FR] Petit duc a face blanche | [DE] Buscheleule | [ES] Autillo de Cara Blanca | [NL] Witwangdwergooruil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ptilopsis leucotis AF e, c, w


Ptilopsis is a genus in the family Strigidae. Compaed to the closely related Otus family the have much bigger eyes and different vocal patterns. Two species included in this genus which were formely considered specie and subspecies in the Otus family. Pale birds in Sudan and dark ones elsewhere have been treated as racially distinct (as margarethae and nigrovertex, respectively), but both considered merely colour morphs.

Physical charateristics

This Owl has a short-tail and prominent ear-tufts. Its plumage is soft grey with darker streaks and vermiculations. A line of white spots descendson each side of the back. It has dark upperparts as compared to the whitish underparts. The facial disk is very white, ordered by black. The bill is pale grey, more dark at the base. The eyes are red to orange. Feathered legs and feet are pale grey with black claws. Both sexes are similar. Juvenile is brownish, with greyish-brown facial disk.

Listen to the sound of Northern White-faced Owl

[audio: White-faced Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 24 cm size max.: 28 cm
incubation min.: 29 days incubation max.: 31 days
fledging min.: 27 days fledging max.: 28 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Africa : East, Central, West


It inhabits savannahs, open and riverine woodlands; thornveld with acacias.


Nests in abandoned nests of other species, or in a cavity in tree, sometimes on ground level. They nest from May to November. The female lays 2 to 4 white eggs Incubatd for about 30 days. Both parents care for the young. Young move around the near branches at about 4 weeks, and fledge some days later.

Feeding habits

It feeds on insects, small birds, rodents and small mammals.

Video Northern White-faced Owl


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


Not on birdlife.
The Northern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis leucotis) is a species of owl in the Strigidae family. The Southern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti) was formerly included in this species and the two were known as the White-faced Scops-Owl (Otus leucotis).
Northern White-faced Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Northern White-faced Owl distribution range map

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